Susan's Blog

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Boston-Area Event About Work & Disability

Michael Weiner is a friend and mentor of mine. He is a special needs financial planner who knows pretty much everything families in transition and beyond 22 need to know about housing and work — particularly for people on the Spectrum. Here, with his permission, is a notice about his next monthly meeting for parents, held at the Newton, MA Jewish Community Center:

Our next meeting is scheduled for April 17 (Wed) at the JCC, 333 Nahanton St (Room 508), Newton, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.

The topic of the meeting will be “WORK”.

For those of us who have children who are capable to work, with the appropriate support, we all realize how important this opportunity is.  As our children leave their academic programs, the activity of working can provide the foundation on which to build a fulfilling life.  To rob a phrase from Jim Cassetta (executive director of Work, Inc.), “work is the hub of the wheel”.  A simple statement with enormous benefits, but often elusive and can be challenging to provide these work opportunities for our children.

This meeting will be devoted to discussing how best to prepare our children, and ourselves, as it relates to these work opportunities.

We are fortunate to have two representatives from organizations who put an emphasis on work, and are both on the fore front of provider agencies who can work with us to try to create these vocational opportunities.  We all know there are more of our children who are seeking employment, than there is employment available.  However, with the support of DDS (and their “Work First” initiative), and combined with a joint effort of parents and support organizations, these opportunities are possible.

Our speakers will be:

Ms. Sharon Smith.  Sharon is the Senior VP and COO of Work, Inc., Dorchester.  This organization has been in existence for more than 40 yrs serving individuals, with all types of disabilities.  Today, they serve over 800 individuals, and provide vocational training and placement services.  They are New England’s leader in the Federal Ability One program.

Ms. Mary Ellen Cameron.  Mary Ellen is the Program Director of the Lifeworks, Inc. Supported Employment Center in Norwood. The foundation of this organization has been in existence for more than 50 yrs.  They offer a wide array of employment services, including competitive employment, group employment, and job training centers amongst their supports.  They have successfully placed hundreds of our children in community based employment.

Both Sharon and Mary Ellen are intimately familiar with today’s landscape, and how the agencies (primarily DDS and MassRehab) are approaching the immediate future as it relates to employment.

So, whether you have a child in the transitional age (less than 22), or who is post 22, you will benefit from participating in this discussion.

Please send me an e mail if you plan to attend so I can be sure there are adequate arrangements.  Thank you.

Lastly, on a personal note.  I serve on the board of the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and am the current Treasurer.  Our annual Gala is scheduled for May 3, 2013 at the Seaport Hotel, Boston, MA.  The Federation has supported, and continues to support, all our children.  Any support for this wonderful organization would be greatly appreciated.  Please consider attending the Gala, and if you are not able, a donation, in any amount, is appreciated.  Here is the link to the Gala event:

Michael W. Weiner
Financial Advisor
Special Needs

Commonwealth Financial Group
101 Federal St. (Suite# 800)
Boston, MA 02110

617-312-5115 (Cell)
E Mail:

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